Skip to main content

Observing 'biased' cops, indifferent administration in a Saurashtra taluka

By Rajiv Shah 
His name is Dhaval Chopada. A smiling young face, whom I used to meet at the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), Ahmedabad. I believe it was several months ago, after he got married, and he "disappeared". Never bothered to find out whether he had gone to some other NGO, or got an assignment elsewhere, I saw him suddenly rushing to me the other day with, smiling as always, “How are you, Rajivbhai?”
Oh! Where did you disappear?, I asked him, and he replied, he is with Arvind Khuman, a lawyer and social worker with CSJ in Amreli, Saurashtra, and is currently stationed in Rajula – “just 40 km from Una, where five Dalits of a family were lynched, an incident which shot into national fame”, he recalled. Who doesn’t know the incident? The Una movement that followed threw up Jignesh Mevani, a major Dalit leader from Gujarat. Currently, Mevani is an independent MLA, won with Congress support.
So what’s going on? I asked Chopada, a lean, thin, tall guy, who wore a trendy jean. Prompt came the answer: “Currently, we are looking into atrocities against Dalits. You know, it takes atrocity cases to come up in local courts about a year later after a first information report (FIR) is filed.” Why so? I queried. And his reply was straight: “The cops up there, especially the senior ones, are riddled with a strange bias: That atrocity cases are filed in order to blackmail upper caste people, to elicit money. I heard them as saying.” 
But did he meet them? “Yes, we have tried to interact, yet they are adamant. They don’t want to change their bias. I have often found, they first try not to register the case at all, and after registering it, they take a lot of time to investigate. It takes considerable effort to list the case to the board.” Nothing unusual, I thought: The bias exists across the board among upper castes. The cops belonging to the upper castes are surely part of a society, where such a bias exists. 
What else? I got curious. Chopada said: “We have been taking up widows’ cases as well. We ensured that a Koli (an Other Backward Class) widow gets her pension. We had helped her fill up the form, which was accepted way back in 2016. Yet, we found to our surprise, the pension payable to her under the Gujarat government scheme had still not begun being disbursed, even three years later.” 
“So”, said he, “We filed a Right to Information (RTI) to find out what went wrong. We were told, in the reply, that the mamlatdar (the taluka level revenue official) had cleared this woman’s case. The papers were all intact. With the papers in hand, we approached the mamlatdar to ensure that the pension began being paid.” 
According to Chopada, even after this, the pension wasn't disbursed. “We approached the post master at the Rajula post office, which distributes the pension. He called for papers. He told us, they had already written to the widow that the mamlatdar had sent a wrong order for payment. We argued, the woman was illiterate, how could she know what was written in the order?” 
I asked him: What went wrong in the order? Chopada said, “The post master was right. It was mamlatdar who was wrong. The order had sought to pay pension in accordance with an old government resolution (GR), which gave Rs 900, while the order should have been based on the new GR, which provides Rs 1,200 pension per month.” 
He went on, pointing towards how the administration is so indifferent towards the underprivileged and deprived sections: “So, we decided to send a legal notice to one to mamlatdar and other to the post master, seeking answer as to was such a delay in the payment of pension. Things immediately moved. The widow received the pension of the last three years – Rs 36,000.”
 I further wondered if there were more such widows, who had not received the pension, and he said, “We have identified five others, we are working them.”

Comments

TRENDING

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Wedding of the century': What does Mukesh Ambani want to prove by such extravaganza?

By NS Venkataraman*  Mukesh  Ambani,   a renowned Indian industrialist who is said to be the richest person in India and  one of the richest persons in the world,   has just now conducted the wedding celebration of  his son in Mumbai,   with unheard level of lavishness in India.

'28% rise in sedition cases': Top global NGO alliance rates India's civil space 'repressed'

By Rajiv Shah Rating India's civic space as repressed , Civicus, a global civil society alliance, in its new report submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on the state of civic space in the country has said that the use of sedition law against the Modi government’s critics continues. "Under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sedition cases have increased by 28 per cent with over 500 cases against more than 7,000 people", it says.

'Anti-poor stand': Even British wouldn't reduce Railways' sleeper and general coaches

By Anandi Pandey, Sandeep Pandey*  Probably even the British, who introduced railways in India, would not have done what the Bhartiya Janata Party government is doing. The number of Sleeper and General class coaches in various trains are surreptitiously and ominously disappearing accompanied by a simultaneous increase in Air Conditioned coaches. In the characteristic style of BJP government there was no discussion or debate on this move by the Indian Railways either in the Parliament or outside of it. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How embracing diversity enriched my life, brought profound sense of joy

By Mike Ghouse*  If you can shed the bias towards others, you'll love the connections with every human that God or his systems have created. This gives a sense of freedom and brings meaning and joy to life. Embracing and respecting how people dress, eat, and practice their beliefs becomes an enriching experience.

Banned Maoist party protests in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, claims support across globe

By Harsh Thakor*  Despite being a banned and designated as terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act since 2009, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) is said to have successfully implemented a one-day bandh across Kolhan division in Jharkhand on July 10th, with repurcussions in the neighbouring Chhattisgarh. The bandh was called to protest against alleged police brutality in the Kolhan-Saranda region.

Post-poll mob lynching spree, bulldozer justice: NAPM seeks united resistance

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls "the horrific spree of mob lynchings across the country after the Lok Sabha election results", India's premier civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has called for "united resistance" against "hateful communal politics, mob lynching of religious minorities and caste-based oppression".

Hindutva economics? 12% decline in manufacturing enterprises, 22.5% fall in employment

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The messiah of Hindutva politics, Narendra Modi, assumed office as the Prime Minister of India on May 26, 2014. He pledged to transform the Indian economy and deliver a developed nation with prosperous citizens. However, despite Modi's continued tenure as the Prime Minister, his ambitious electoral promises seem increasingly elusive.